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Salecic set for Falcons league return



Former West Perth premiership captain Jason Salecic is set to make a remarkable return to WAFL league ranks against Swan Districts this Saturday, for his first game in more than seven years.


The 36 year old made a comeback to his former club in the off-season, and now looks set to play league football for the Falcons for the first time since the 2013 WAFL Grand Final, where he captained West Perth to a memorable premiership over rivals East Perth.


Salecic has been averaging 13 disposals and a goal a game in the reserves so far this season, and with Tyler Keitel (suspended) Trent Manzone (hamstring) and Ben Delaporte (ankle) all set to miss the clash against the second placed Swans, the 212 gamer is likely to earn a call up, according to his coach Geoff Valentine.


"We'll get through training tonight, but he's had a really strong build up, it hasn't been without hurdles along the way. He's had to continue to build his GPS numbers, his ability to get through games and back up but he's been able to do that," Valentine told Sports Breakfast on Thursday.


"His impact and intensity around the footy has been fantastic and it probably looks like with a few injuries that the cards might fall his way. It will be really exciting."


Salecic retired after the Falcons flag in 2013 having captained the club in more than 100 matches, having also played in a premiership as a teenager in 2003.


Having served as an assistant coach for five seasons Salecic made the decision to return to training in the summer in a bid to return to WAFL ranks, with his inclusion set to be confirmed on Thursday night.


Valentine, himself a premiership player at the club in 1995 will take the reins as coach of the Western Australian state squad for their clash with South Australia on May 15th, after Michael Broadbridge resigned from his post on Monday due to work commitments.


He will however need new assistant coaches for the clash after Kyal Horsley and Beau Maister withdrew due to their own work commitments and fears around potential quarantine for the squad should an outbreak of COVID-19 occur while the squad is in Adelaide.


22 of the 30 Western Australia squad members are yet to play state football, but Valentine was confident they had the right mix to topple the Croweaters on their home turf.


"I think they have the squad right. It's a young man's competition (the WAFL) there's not too many boys running around that are 28, 29 or 30.


"There's a few senior guys in Lachlan Delahunty, Leigh Kitchin that immediately come to mind, but that's the great strength of where our competition is.


"There are really good young players, we have the right mix of hard nuts on the inside and plenty of run on the outside. There's going to be a genuine enthusiasm to get in and amongst that contest."


West Perth host Swan Districts at Arena Joondalup on Saturday, before the state game bye takes place on the weekend of May 15-16.


IMAGE: The West Australian.